Thracian Units

Peasant

The last option of any desperate army (except perhaps slaves or convicts), peasants are good for increasing your numbers...and not much else. Poorly armed and with little military experience, their morale and discipline are both understandably low. They are cheap to train, however, and their one advantage is an ability to hide well. Peasants should be used as an absolute last resort, or in cases where funds are extremely short.




Peltasts

The peltasts were the original Thracian warriors. These skirmishers are restricted to peppering the enemy with long-range javelins before the actual battle commences. They can also be useful for acting as a distraction to the enemy, to lure them into an ambush, or to create a diversion by attacking some target. They are fairly useless in melee combat, and should not be subjected to it.





Archers

Archer warbands are used to harass and break up enemy formations, so that other warriors can then get in amongst their enemies. The members of the warband are lightly armed and equipped, relying more on speed as a protection from foes. Any archers caught in the open by cavalry will be in trouble unless they can withdraw to more favourable ground or behind a shield wall of friendly warriors. Their bows have a short range, but each warrior carries a good selection of hunting and war arrows, designed to cause massive bleeding and pierce armour respectively. Their choice of missile is matched to the nature of the target. These archers are at their best in wooded country, where their superior stalking skills learned on the hunt can be put to use.


Militia Hoplites

Hoplites formed the core of the Greek armies for centuries, with their long spears that stretched out more than a dozen feet in front of them. They almost always fought in phalanxes, presenting an impenetrable wall of iron to their foes. As their name may suggest, militia hoplites are drawn from civilian ranks in times of great need, and therefore cannot be expected to be either skilled or disciplined fighters. However, they can still hold off an enemy for a substantial amount of time, particularly a mounted enemy.




Falxmen

Falxmen are used to carve a path into enemy formations. They are superior, but somewhat ill-disciplined warriors who are willing to charge into a fight without orders. They wear no armour, partly as a sign of their bravery and partly because it would interfere with the free swinging of their falxes. A falx can cut a man in two lengthways in the hands of a skilled user. It is a frightening weapon: a curved scythe-like blade on the end of a long handle that is sharpened on the inner curve of the blade. The damage from any blow is done with a pulling motion, meaning that any blow that lands will hack off a limb or decapitate a foe at the least. Historically, this is one of the few weapons that made the Romans change their standardised armour, as they added reinforcing bars to legionary helmets after encountering falxmen.


Phalanx Pikemen

Phalanx pikemen, or phalangites, are well-drilled infantry who fight best as solid mass of men. They are armed with an enormously long pike, or sarissa, often 4-5m in length. This is the weapon that Alexander's armies used, and it has remained popular in all the Successor states that sprang up in his collapsed empire, even though most of the men recruited to fight as pikemen are neither Macedonian nor Greek by descent. It is popular because the first five ranks can present their pikes to the enemy creating a mobile forest of sharpened metal, while those further back hold them at a 45 degree angle to deflect enemy arrows. In phalanx formation these men can advance in a disciplined mass and 'push' against an enemy line, often breaking through in the process as few enemies will stand in the face of so many spear points coming towards them! Indeed, from the front a phalanx can be almost invulnerable.


Bastarnae

The Bastarnae are a particularly ferocious tribe from the northern Balkans who rejoice in man-to-man combat. Some scribes would have it that there are no fiercer men in battle, and they are a formidable resource for any Thracian commander: they are highly unlikely to break and run. Even their weapon of choice - the rhomphaia - is a cruel looking, curved blade sharpened on the inner edge, like a sickle. With one blow, this weapon is capable of severing an arm or leg. Each Bastarnae warrior also carries a small shield, which other than his helmet is his only protection, not that this lack of armour worries these fearless fighters for a moment. Often tattooed and with blue-dyed hair, the only concern with such battle-hungry fighters is that they are liable to fling themselves into the fray at the earliest opportunity.


Militia Cavalry

These light horsemen are armed with javelins and are therefore ideally suited for raids and scouting, but not very useful in a pitched battle. They should definitely be kept away from enemy cavalry, which they have no protection against. Militia cavalry, like militia hoplites, were recruited from civilian ranks only when necessary.






Greek Cavalry

The Greek medium cavalry unit, these cavalry go to war without either shields or armour. They are therefore not very strong against other horsemen, and must also be used more for raids or attacks on ranged units. They are armed with spears. Greek cavalry, as compared to militia cavalry, was a more professional force, with better training and more experience.





General's Guard

A bodyguard was, historically speaking, a functional unit, rather than a type of soldier. In the game, however, they are spear-armed shock cavalry, whose success or failure depends to a large extent on the personal characteristics of the general who they are guarding - his effect on their morale, for example, or on their discipline, will play a large role in determining how they fight. They are in all cases excellent troops - the Thracian general's bodyguard, while among the weakest in the game, must be the only capable of going into wedge formation, although how useful this actually is up in the air.


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